We’ve previously reported that Hamilton, the hip-hop musical sensation from Lin-Manuel Miranda that obliterated Broadway with its inclusive, genre-blending examination of American history, will come to theaters in 2021 from Disney, as a filmed presentation of a Broadway performance. But, a wrinkle emerges: There are some cuss words in the musical Hamilton, you see. And under their banner, Disney has a strict “PG-13 or under” ratings policy, you see. And if performed exactly as written, Hamilton‘s usage of multiple F-words would likely bump it up to an R, you see. So what are Disney, Miranda, and director Thomas Kail going to do?
New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan wondered the same thing. And when he approached Miranda at the Oscars red carpet on Sunday, he decided to ask. Miranda’s response was diplomatic, but possibly telling:
I think we’ll figure it out when we get there, but we’re not going to cut any sections of the show. If we have to mute a word here or there to reach the largest audience possible, I’m OK with that, because your kids already have the original language memorized. I don’t think we’re depriving anyone of anything if we mute an f-bomb here or there to make our rating.
Miranda’s idea to straight-up mute some of the words without rewriting any of his show does, indeed, feel like it might be the best version of the “Disney has to censor Hamilton” reality we’re all about to live in. To borrow Miranda’s parlance, “your kids already” listen to filthy-ass records edited by simple removal on the radio, and seeing this musical censorship tactic mimicked on the big screen (as a direct rendering of a live play — this thing’s got layers!) should feel intuitive and, hopefully, unobtrusive. At the end of the day, this is still “thinking out loud” theorizing from Miranda, and we’ll all find out exactly how those cusses get censored when the film drops in theaters October 15, 2021.